Susan B

This is the place I journal about my reading and knitting.

11 January 2007

A good yarn

Last summer I narrowly missed a reading and book signing by two authors, Stephanie Pearl McPhee and Kim Edwards. The Yarn Harlot (Ms Pearl McPhee) had just visited the Skaneateles bookshop I discovered on a hot afternoon walk. And Edwards, who grew up in that Finger Lakes town, had been there that same week.

This winter evening I am deep into Edwards novel, The Memory Keeper's Daughter. The writing is good but the very situation is one that made my heart ache when I read the back cover. In 1964 a man gives away his newborn daughter because she has Down's Syndrome. He hides her existence from his wife telling her only one of her twins has survived. The story follows the two children, their broken parents and the woman who raises the daughter. Edwards heard this bare outline of a story from a minister and carried it till it needed to be written.

I will be ready for the Harlot's zany knit lit after this book. There are not too many laughs in the Edwards novel though smiles of recognition and some tough and wise characters have kept me with the book. We humans are resilient and twisted and colorful. Knitting, anyone?

10 January 2007

The imperfect is our paradise.*

I am engrossed in a book, Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper, that is a fictional reflection on those of Mary Cassatt's paintings that feature her sister Lydia as model. Each chapter of the small book contains a reproduction of a painting. The writing is as lucid and lovely as Cassatt's paintings. Harriet Scott Chessman is the author.

Lydia suffered with Bright's disease and some of the novel centers on her illness and how she creates a world of beauty that sustains her. The artist-model relationship of the sisters is a metaphor that allows for reflection on how we are seen by those who love us. The title painting, especially, moved me with its view of a woman in pain focusing on what goes on outside the pain.
*My post title is a quote from Wallace Stevens that is the epigraph for the novel.

23 December 2006

Peace for all!

21 December 2006

Up late:an update

I have, in typical SusanB fashion, complicated my knit life by twice binding off when I should have gone back to knitting. This baby blue yarn has heard words it shouldn't have and I have tried to atone by having Renee Fleming sing to the sweater while I corrected my mistakes.

How can an unemployed knitter be late with Christmas knitting? We procrastinators know, don't we?

20 December 2006

Stamps and stitches

I am a Christmas card lover and so I signed up for a swap with others in one of the Yahoo groups. There are 25 of us and it has been fun to receive cards from all over. Some are from Canada and the UK, so we are international knitters. I finished my cards for that exchange group yesterday and will complete cards for family and friends today.

Knitting of the second sweater (for the newborn) has lagged and I will pick it up this afternoon and evening. Our group's sweaters are slowly gathering and it is quite a display! Mary will take these to work on Friday.

I shared on another blog that I knit these for the recipients but also for loved ones with difficult days just now. The slow stitching and counting feels peaceful and productive. My wishes are for their peace and for good gifts in God's good time.

10 December 2006

Knittin' kin

Last night we gathered at my mom's apartment for our bi-weekly Saturday get together. When I walked in, I was greeted by my ten year old niece Gretchen who needed help casting on for a pink baby hat. She was already working on a purple scarf ("or a headband, depending on how much time I have!"). Though she broke for supper, she was on and off knitting all evening.

My niece Juliana, fourteen going on fifteen, asked about joining the Wednesday knit group. She had heard that it was lots of fun. That group was founded by my niece Katie who got me and my sister Anne knitting. My niece Catherine knits, too.

I love thinking of this tangle of women who learn and create together. The learning is not a linear, passing-down type of tradition, but rather a web-like learning where age matters but doesn't determine, patterns matter but don't control, and each one teaches and learns.

07 December 2006

Anonymous donor

My knitting ready to be sewn together pile has two sweaters: the Mason Dixon baby kimono and the WoolEase rose-colored size 10 child's sweater.

The second sweater is for the family our knit group is knitting for. Mary met the baby twins and the two-year old and predicts their sweaters will be great fits. (I am nervous as anything that the 8 year old's rose sweater won't fit!)

I am knitting a baby sweater for one of the twins in Encore chunky, pale blue and white marled yarn. Kate is knitting the same sweater in darker blue. They will be cute, with hoods and I cord ties.

I am musing over the fact that my first sweater knitting is being done for people I don't even know. Maybe it just helps that I will never have that awkward feeling of wondering if the giftee loves my hand knit work. This group effort is so much fun in itself that if I found my sweaters in a thrift store I would only fleetingly consider never knitting again.